We have spent a week here soaking it in, but you could spend a lifetime and not tire of looking at the rocks and buttes around Sedona. It truly is the most jaw dropping landscape we have seen to this point in our lives.
We arrived after our cold and much shortened journey across the U.S. mid-west. The original plan was to stretch it out for a month to end up in Tucson for the beginning of Dec., but we have always known our plans are written in sand and are meant to change with the wind. We will be back someday to take in what we blew through on our way to the warm and sunny times in Sedona.
Hwy 17 south out of Flagstaff was a nice road except for the hill you have to get down. 18 miles of hill! Most of the hill at 4 and 6 percent grade it is a real fuel saver but you will pay for it in brakes. Actually the truck handled it very well, the exhaust brake doing most of the work and the service brakes were used just a few times. At one point there is a sign telling you "Emergency run-off in 10 Miles", I wouldn't want to be the trucker trying keep 80,000 lbs on the winding road at 100+ mph until it showed up.
Distant Drums Rv Park was our home for the week here, it's a nice park with concrete pads and patios. The workampers here are very good at keeping this place spotless and making sure you are happy with everything. This park is about 20 miles south of Sedona and 15 from Cottonwood. It might sound like it is too far from things, but the great benefit is that you have to take Red Rock Scenic Byway to get to Sedona. This is the scenic road of scenic roads. Driving through The Coconino National Forest the byway is 7.5 miles of oohs and ahs at every turn. I'm not sure how many times we drove this road in our week here but it wasn't enough.
There is a casino (Cliff Castle Casino) across the highway from the park and if you sign up for their loyalty card they give each of you a $10 credit and the park gives you another $10 voucher so you can gamble a little for free. They have a good buffet restaurant that we had a lunch and a breakfast at for a reasonable price.
Sedona itself is an eclectic town, with a mix of people from the mega rich in their mansions to the aging hippies in their vans. ( I know what I'm closer to on this scale, you don't have to point it out to me!) This is a fantastic area for an outdoor and healthy lifestyle and that is the people you find here. Mountain bikers with all the best gear are everywhere on the roads or the miles and miles of trails all over the area. Plenty of meditation, healing, yoga and grass-eating types ( I joke, I joke) abound. There are typical tourist businesses, rental Jeeps and ATV's, helicopters, souvenirs and condo/ timeshare sellers all over, but it can't take away from the beauty of the area. Plenty of hiking and camping options everywhere in the surrounding parks.
Cottonwood has a historic "Old Town" section with art shops and restaurants which was interesting although much of it closes early or doesn't open at all on the winter Mondays which happened to be when we were there. We also went to The Blazing M Ranch which is also in Cottonwood. They put on western show and dinner that is worth seeing. They have a little western town set up with shops, a tavern and a booth were we shot a real revolver with wax bullets and a smaller charge but it gave you an idea of shooting a real gun. Turns out Detra has a better eye than I have, so we won't be purchasing firearms any time soon although...I think I could take her in a quick-draw situation.
Ghost Rider and the Gal
We felt we had to get out and experience the desert landscape up close, so we decided to do a hike around Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. This is a lovely 4.5 mile hike of which we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, flora and fauna. The map says it is a 4.3 mile hike but we took a wrong turn and added at least a few tenths of a mile. So it turns out two totally inexperienced and unconditioned hikers walking through the desert, in the sun and the heat can have a very happy 4 mile hike, but that last half mile it was dry, dusty, god forsaken land of the devil... or maybe we were just tired.
Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, our hike took us around these.
Enjoying the view
How much further?
Find your own water this one is mine!
After our week here, it is a place I would return to if I was looking for a relaxing time to just sit and breathe it all in, a place to go gonzo mountain biking on fantastic trails, golf on pristine courses, hike and sleep under more stars than you have ever seen, take in the arts or an enema at one of the health retreats, be pampered in a 5-star resort or camp under a tarp,
Sedona is the place that has it all!
If you ever need a reset or to get in touch with nature or your inner self, come sit on a red rock in the middle of the desert here, breathe the air, soak in the sun, gaze at the beauty around you. You will feel recharged, free, small and large at the same time, close to the Earth and a million miles from your demons.
Happy Thanksgiving to our U.S. friends.
Rested, reset and returning,